Alberta Minute: Childcare Deal, Legal Education, and Low Income Transit
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
The Legislature remains adjourned, but will resume on February 28th. There will be a meeting of the Standing Committee on Legislative Offices on Thursday at 1:00 pm to review the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate 2021-2022 Annual Report.
Alberta poultry farmers will be able to apply for AgriStability, a federal/provincial income stabilization program, due to the avian flu outbreak. Traditionally, supply-managed sectors don’t need to participate in the program, but large flock loss has led to severe declines in income.
- The Law Society of Alberta will vote today on whether to repeal a rule mandating Indigenous cultural competency training. Fifty lawyers signed a petition calling for repeal of the mandatory online learning program, "The Path". The training was one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action, but some lawyers believe the training is politically motivated and goes against their right to control their own professional development. The Law Society is urging members to oppose the petition and vote in favour of the training.
Last Week In Alberta:
- The Alberta government announced the addition of 22,500 private child care spaces as part of its deal with Ottawa. In November 2021, Alberta and the federal government agreed to a $3.8 billion deal to reduce daycare fees to an average of $10/day within five years. Originally, the deal only included a plan to open 42,500 new non-profit spaces, but the Province called the addition of the privately operated spaces a victory for parental choice in childcare. The deal will include a cost-control framework stating private operators must dedicate surpluses “above reasonable earnings” to improving their services.
The Province introduced a new program to handle low-severity 911 calls. Calls evaluated as lower in severity will be transferred to a registered nurse at HealthLink 811 via a dedicated phone line known as the EMS-811 shared response program. This change will free up paramedics to handle life-threatening and urgent calls, while also providing support to those who need help with non-urgent conditions. The Health Minister estimated that the program could divert up to 40,000 calls a year and prevent the dispatch of ambulances that are not needed.
- The Alberta government announced a $15 million investment in low-income transit programs in communities across the province. The program is aimed at reducing the cost of adult monthly transit passes to as low as $5.60. Calgary and Edmonton each received $4.5 million, while another $6 million will be allocated to 10 other municipalities. Two of those communities are Banff and Canmore, where public transportation is already free for residents.
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